But after her swallow, once the food gets past the pharyngeal area, her peristalisis looks pretty good! A little on the weak side, but well coordinated. It's the upper stuff that's the problem.
When she drinks liquids there are some spasms happening in the area of the epiglottis. When she drinks viscous liquids (so thickened slightly) there is a spot just BELOW the cricopharyngeal muscle that suddenly tightens.
With solids, as she's CHEWING, that same area just below the cricopharyngeal muscle spasms and tightens, and as she swallows the solid bolus it closes almost completely, yet her epiglotis appears to open. That means food or liquid that has stacked up there can dump right into her lungs! She was able to tell us when she had food stuck, which corresponded with what the doctor was seeing on the computer sensor.
Tomorrow we're going to try dilitation. It may not work, but it's at the bottom of the "least invasive" scale, and something pretty easy to try. If it doesn't work, we'll have to figure out what, if anything, is our next step. Even though she has remained free from aspiration pneumonia for the past 3 years, everyone is stunned. Solid food sits right in front of her airway and liquids splash around the solids and into her airway. It is NOT safe to eat or drink this way, so going back to a gtube, for the rest of her life, is a very real possibility right now.